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CityAirSim will show how traffic, greenery and dense construction affect the city air

How do trees and shrubs affect the city's air? And how does traffic and its emissions affect vegetation? If so, how do you place trees, houses and streets to get the best air in the city? The ambition of the CityAirSim project is to create an interactive environment where you can find out about it.

CityAirSim has the long name Visualization and modeling of urban air quality - impact on vegetation, building structure and traffic emissions. It is a three-year interdisciplinary project that connects biological and meteorological knowledge with modern visualization and communication technology. The work takes place in Gothenburg and the results can be used throughout Scandinavia.

The goal for today's cities is to become sustainable, green and dense. In order to have a good air environment, it is central to understand how vegetation, denser building structure and future traffic situation affect air quality, both individually and together.

An important knowledge is what happens to the leaves or needles of the trees or shrubs. What is taken up by particles and nitrogen dioxide, what is rinsed off? Which species work best in the city?

Another aspect is the location. Shrubs can be barriers to traffic emissions, but trees that stretch across the streets can instead prevent pollutants from blowing away. How tall the houses are and how they are placed in relation to the traffic are additional parameters to consider.

Once the project has produced these facts, the results must be visualized. It can be in shape in VR, virtual reality, where you are enclosed in an artificial environment through glasses. Another possible method is AR, augmented reality, which means that different scenarios are projected in the real environment. The idea is to be able to show how the air is affected if houses, vegetation and roads are placed in different ways.

Both decision-makers and schoolchildren should be able to share the results. Therefore, the city planning office in Gothenburg and the science center Universeum participate in the project. The project is led by the University of Gothenburg in collaboration with IVL Swedish Environmental Institute and Chalmers.

Facts about project

  • CityAirSim - Visualization and modeling of urban air quality - impact on vegetation, building structure and traffic emissions
  • Budget: 9 MSEK
  • Financier: Formas
  • Partners: Göteborgs universitet, Chalmers, Göteborgs stad, Melica, Mistra Urban Futures, Ramböll, Tyréns, Universeum
  • Period: 2018 - 2022

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Last updated: 2022-04-12

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

About IVL

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has a wide environmental profile. We combine applied research and development with close collaboration between industry and the public sphere. Our consultancy is evidence-based, and our research is characterized by interdisciplinary science and system thinking.


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